Muhammad bin Nayif

The early news out of Saudi Arabia is that Muhammad bin Nayif, the Deputy Interior Minister, escaped an assassination attempt by a suicide bomber with only light injuries. It is unclear yet who is responsible, but I have my suspects. Last week in a talk I argued that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was looking to carry out an attack either in Saudi Arabia or one of the other Gulf states as a way of squaring their action with their rhetoric (more on this later, as the article is only half finished). Both myself and others suggested that Ramadan could be a particular dangerous time given the history of the organization.

It is a bit premature to lay this at the feet of al-Qaeda, Nasir al-Wahayshi, Said al-Shihri and Qasim al-Raymi but all early signs point to this being the feared (or at least one of the feared) attacks. The forums are already abuzz with the news as well as with video of al-Arabiyya showing Muhammad meeting with King Abdullah.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

Videos
  • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
  • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
  • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
Keep reading Show less
Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

Keep reading Show less